Michigan goes for economic stimulus through art, according to the Detroit Free Press. The state’s powerful DeVos family is making an effort to bring the artworld to Grand Rapids, MI. The bait is a $250,000 prize but the structure of the competition should bring about
ArtPrize, the brainchild of Rick DeVos, a grandson of both the cofounder of Amway and the founder of the Prince Corp., promises to create a unique annual celebration of the visual arts in Grand Rapids. Potentially hundreds of artists will display works in a 3-square-mile area in downtown Grand Rapids — from parks and bridges to bank lobbies, small businesses and traditional venues like museums.
The competition, announced Thursday, is scheduled to run Sept. 23-Oct. 10.
Rather than rely on a jury of art experts to pick the winners, the competition will be decided by members of the public, who will vote via cell phone, online and other digital devices. Organizers say that the $250,000 first prize will be the world’s most lucrative visual arts award. [ . . . ]
The competition breaks down traditional hierarchies in the art world by relying on the public to pick winners and placing the power to select the works with everday venues — though the city or a business would be free to use curators or experts to help make decisions. Art aficionados will be especially curious to see what kind of work captures the imagination of voters and the degree to which populist subject matter and forms trump abstract or challenging works.
Art Prize: An Art Contest for the Digital Age (Detroit Free Press)